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Lavender Plants - Dead, Unwell or Normal?


I’ve got a couple of lavender plants, but they no longer look very healthy. Are they dead, or do they just look like this in the winter?



  • PlantmindedPlantminded WirralPosts: 984
    That's quite normal at this time of year - I don't grow them for that reason!
  • bertrand-mabelbertrand-mabel Posts: 1,476
    They need to be cut back so that new growth will come in the spring. Don't cut too low but maybe half the stems.
    Ours were cut back last year and we have had them for many years and they keep giving us lovely flower spikes and then we dry them in the winter for lavender bags.
  • punkdocpunkdoc Sheffield, Derbyshire border.Posts: 11,168
    Don't cut them back at this time of year. Either do it in late summer, or in spring.
    He calls her the chocolate girl
    Cause he thinks she melts when he touches her
    She knows she's the chocolate girl
    Cause she's broken up and swallowed
    And wrapped in bits of silver
  • puschkiniapuschkinia BrightonPosts: 137
    That's quite normal at this time of year - I don't grow them for that reason!
    I was planning on planting some in spring thinking it was properly evergreen - it was really useful to find out that they look... a bit different... over winter.
  • PlantmindedPlantminded WirralPosts: 984
    Yes, they are lovely plants when in flower @puschkinia, they just look as if they are struggling over winter but they will bounce back!  Lavender are mediterranean plants, they enjoy hot, dry conditions and impoverished soil.  When planting incorporate lots of horticultural grit in your soil to ensure good drainage and don't feed.  New plants will need watering though while they are getting established.  The best scent, in my opinion, is from Lavandula hidcote: Lavandula angustifolia 'Hidcote'|English lavender 'Hidcote'/RHS Gardening (Try to get UK grown plants if you can!).
  • puschkiniapuschkinia BrightonPosts: 137
    I'm not put off at all, it just means I'll be seeking a different evergreen too so that next winter my garden doesn't look as sad as it currently does :p

    Thanks for the tips - I'm on stony chalk that's also currently gloopy (maybe it's chalky clay with loads of builder's rubble? still haven't figured it out). I do need to buy some horticultural grit though, thanks for the reminder! 

    Yep the Hidcote is on my wishlist :D The Rosea too. Going to remove some more lawn so I should have room for both!
  • They don't always look that bad over winter. Some of mine here look pretty similar but others look pretty happy. 
    It's best to leave them until spring as mentioned above because this foliage helps protect them from winter cold. If you cut back now the cold weather can kill them off. You can wait until after the have flowered and then cut back before it turns cold again in the autumn but if you want to keep them at a smaller size then prune in spring as the weather heats up. Pruning then will delay the flowers slightly but will send up lots of fresh new growth. Don't cut back into old wood, you need to leave a little green under each cut as they don't often regrow back if you cut into brown material.
  • PlantmindedPlantminded WirralPosts: 984
    There's an excellent list of plants for chalky soils on the RHS website @puschkinia

    Chalky soils: plants for / RHS Gardening

    To add interest to your garden over winter, I'd recommend this Euphorbia:

    Euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii - BBC Gardeners World Magazine

    It remains evergreen over winter and starts to produce its flowers in early January.

    Here's mine photographed in spring last year.

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,025
    Lavenders might be fine where you are @puschkinia. Milder, sunnier areas with some dampness to keep them green is the ideal. 
    It's cold wet stuff they don't like, poor drainage etc, and if they get woody [which they tend to do ] they don't always recover well if pruned. They need to be properly maintained from the start to look good, so pruning at the right time is important, as well as not rumping them back too far.  :)

    Personally I hate the stuff, but I know I'm in the minority  :D
    Apart from the last year, we don't have a suitable climate for it here. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • puschkiniapuschkinia BrightonPosts: 137
    thanks for the suggestion @Plantminded! I have my eye on ilex crenata atm but I can't wait to see everything in person in the GC when spring comes :D

    @Fairygirl, I'll try to keep it well-pruned, thanks! Pruning is at the top of my list for gardening things I need to learn :)

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